If you are looking for an answer to the question What is Artificial Intelligence? and you only have a minute, then here's the definition the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence offers on its home page: "the scientific understanding of the mechanisms underlying thought and intelligent behavior and their embodiment in machines."
However, if you are fortunate enough to have more than a minute, then please get ready to embark upon an exciting journey exploring AI (but beware, it could last a lifetime) …
Some of the most revolutionary advances in artificial intelligence are coming from the world of video games. The OpenAI team, supported by tech maven Elon Musk, showcased an AI bot at a tournament in Seattle that decisively beat several of the world's best Dota 2 players in one-on-one matches. The stunning upset over pro gamer and crowd favorite Danylo "Dendi" Isutin was broadcast live from the stage at The International, a $24 million Dota 2 tournament backed by Valve. In the first match, the machine-learning algorithm defeated Dendi in ten minutes. Dendi then resigned from the second match, and declined a third.
The Elon Musk-backed OpenAI team has developed a machine learning system that has beaten "many" of the best pro Dota 2 players in one-on-one matches, including star player Dendi during a live demonstration at The International. The result is an AI that not only has the fundamentals nailed down, but understands the nuances that take human players a long time to master. And it doesn't take too long to learn, either; OpenAI's creation can beat regular Dota 2 bots after an hour of learning, and beat the best humans after just two weeks. One-on-one matches are far less complex than standard five-on-five matches, and it's notable that the machine learning system doesn't use the full range of tactics you see from human rivals.
The result is an AI that not only has the fundamentals nailed down, but understands the nuances that take human players a long time to master. It's adept at tricks like zoning (preventing the enemy from hitting your creeps to deny them experience and gold) and raze faking (starting a raze animation to trick an enemy into dodging a non-existent attack). While its actions per minute aren't any better than that of an average flesh-and-bone player, the choices make a huge difference. And it doesn't take too long to learn, either; OpenAI's creation can beat regular Dota 2 bots after an hour of learning, and beat the best humans after just two weeks. Of course, these victories came about under controlled, ideal conditions.
A year on from its victory over Go star Lee Sedol, Google DeepMind is preparing a "festival" of exhibition matches for its board game-playing AI, AlphaGo, to see how far it has evolved in the last 12 months. Headlining the event will be a one-on-one match against the current number one player of the ancient Asian game, 19-year-old Chinese professional Ke Jie. DeepMind has had its eye on this match since even before AlphaGo beat Lee. On the eve of his trip to Seoul in March 2016, the company's co-founder, Demis Hassabis, told the Guardian: "There's a young kid in China who's very, very strong, who might want to play us." As well as the one-on-one match with Jie, which will be played over the course of three games, AlphaGo will take part in two other games with slightly odder formats.